01 January 2004

Issue Intro: Holiday Hangover and the Promise of Spring

January is a weird time of year. Guilt over holiday excesses are juxtaposed with the hope a new year brings—new classes, new opportunities, new professors, (a new President!?). We like to take stock in what we got, and what we want. What better way to kick off the Spring semester than with a new issue of BiblioTech. (No, we haven't come up with a new name yet. Sorry, MIT et al. . .) This issue is chock full o' concerns familar to those of us in Libraryland (intellectual freedom, the challenges of reference work, scary internships, what we should learn in school) and those that are not so familiar (trading live recordings of jam bands, songs about libraries). Happy reading!

This is only our second issue, but we're thrilled to have been cited in Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights and mentioned on Jessamyn West's Librarian.net. You never know who's going to read you when you're out there in cyberspace!

Many applause to the students who contributed to this issue—you made it happen! Props also go to Wendy Resnik (editor extraordinaire) and the Library Student Organization for their support. May your Spring 2004 semester be all you want it to be and more.


Lori Ito Hardenbergh
Web Editor, BiblioTech

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Not the Sound of Silence Footnoting the Pop/Rock Sounds of the Library

by Ted Liebler

While in the University of Arizona's Music Library evaluating their reference collection for a class project, I came across the following book and annotated it for my pathfinder:

Green, J. (2002). The Thematic Guide to Popular Music, Nashville: Professional Desk References.
This massive guide categorizes music by lyrical theme(s) and/or song titles. For instance, there are listings of songs by days of the week, women's first names and cities around the world. The perennial themes of love, romance and relationships are broken down into 25 sub-categories.

Paging through it spurred me to wonder about songs written about or songs referring to libraries or librarians. While there were song listings galore referring to books (e.g., "Book of Love" by the Monotones and "Little Red Book" by Burt Bacharach/ Hal David), librarians and libraries were not even a category, subcategory or even crossed-referenced! This void gave me the impetus to do my own brief exploration and survey, drawing upon the vast resources of the web, friends, and my record collection, of the brief instances where the music world danced in library land.

Tori Amos-"Tales of a Librarian"
Classmate and Health Science librarian Virginia Sanchez filled me in on this one. I looked it up on Allmusic.com and found it was a collection of her hit songs. The record reviewer MacKenzie Wilson even writes, "Tales of a Librarian: A Tori Amos Collection is not only one of the most intriguing titles for a hits compilation, but the package itself captures only the best from Amos' years spent with Atlantic."

BiblioTech editor Lori Ito Hardenbergh recently mentioned that songs on this album are even organized according to the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system! Check out the following link from Library Journal, which succinctly provides "an abstract" to her recorded tales: http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA341766

The Librarians
A now defunct power-pop band from Oakland, CA who used librarian stereotypes as part their shtick. For example, their band logo includes an illustration of a pair of black-framed glasses with one shattered lens. A photograph of the same motif appears on the back cover of their lone CD (properly clogging the used CD racks of the Bay Area). While they do have a song titled "Peace & Quiet, " I would have bestowed them all with "Superstar Reader" awards if they recorded a concept album where every song had a library theme. They could have even written sappy and juvenile songs with titles like: "Flashing lights (mean the library will be closing)," "I'll give you a call number, but not my phone number," "I like MARC, but not you Mark" and "This Moment of Silence is Sponsored by the Library." Writing of juvenile and sappy... brings us to another Bay Area-based band.

Green Day-"At the Library"
Before the band broke through to the mainstream with their punky-pop snappy sound and "Turk 182" had greater pop-culture currency than Blink 182, they wrote of an across-the-reading room secret crush in 1990. (If the song was written in 1995, the song title might have been "At Computer Lab" or in 2002 "Across the ILC.") The possibilities are quickly squelched when the proverbial boyfriend enters the picture and the couple walk away. However, the song ends on the hopeful (or should I say hopeless) romantic note with the last line of "Maybe We'll Meet Again Someday."

Gil and Johnny-Alice
Only in the '60s, could some Los Angeles studio amalgamation come up with a bubblegum psychedelic song with the opening salvo and rhyme scheme of: "I made a visit local library/I wanted smarts like my friends Tom, Rick and Harry." This 1966 song, musically modeled on Lovin' Spoonful's "Daydream Believer and Peter, Paul and Mary's "I Dig Rock 'n' Roll Music" has the narrator proceed to the children section and "trip" upon Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass. The reader/singer becomes enraptured with this book and proceeds to sing about Alice's adventures until the end of this good-timey two minutes of mimicry.

International Brunch Mummies-"Library Place"
Wow, what a wacky name for a band and in their song package is a number called "Library Place." Unfortunately, I couldn't discern if the lyrics refer to something akin to evaluating the interior layouts of libraries or diatribe against those who eschew the massed-produced art hanging up at IHOP, due to the murky mid-fidelity internet stream from the New Jersey independent radio station WFMU. I did find out, from a Google search, that the lead singer does like to hang-out at the local library.

With the exception of the Tori Amos' collection of "stories within stories," the aforementioned examples of where librarians and libraries acted as the muse for music are admittedly hardly a stockpile and are pretty much regulated to the corners of the internet and/or buried deep in independently released albums. However, stepping-stones are always necessary before a true movement can be set in motion...

Ted Liebler was born in Indianapolis, IN and grew up in the great and grim Midwest. He studied at Michigan State University before transferring to the University of Notre Dame and graduating with an American Studies degree in 1995. Before starting graduate school in fall of 2003, Ted wrote for several online and print music publications. He also contributed to the forthcoming music book titled Lost in the Grooves: Scram's Capricious Guide to the Music You Missed. It is slated to be published by Routledge in fall 2004.

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In the Know: Thoughts on Entering the Field of Librarianship

by Georgie Donovan

All the friends that I've met in library school have been accomplished in one or more areas of their lives beyond librarianship. Some of my friends like Lori Ito Hardenbergh and Holly Jeffcoat have previous advanced degrees in other fields; some of them have had interesting careers like Annabelle Nu�ez's work in the arts and as an actress and Lia Ladas's work in publishing. Others are knowledgeable about a craft or art like Amy Verheide's work in photography, and many have wisdom and smarts from raising children like Toni Anaya. Yet, I think for all of us, librarianship is a different world and the professional aspects of it are different from any other discipline. Though I've attended conferences for writers (I did a master of fine arts program in creative writing and wrote and taught before returning to school at SIRLS), the ALA conferences are different in their scope and purpose from others. Though networking is important in any profession, librarianship is a small field and people have close-knit relationships with one another that span decades. These are two examples of practical things that I think library students would like to know—things that new students in the program asked me about when I was the president of the Library Student Organization (LSO) at SIRLS.

Library school education in some ways hasn't decided to move out of the model that was set up in the first library schools in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

I thought I would write a short article describing some of the things that I think SIRLS students may want to understand—sort of a "always wanted to know but were afraid to ask" article. These are, of course, only my opinions about these issues and stem from my limited experience so far with librarianship. This experience includes my work now as the special assistant to the dean at the University of Arizona Libraries, and pre-library school work in a rural children's library, in circulation at a urban public library, and in the humanities department of a large academic library (UGA). Besides library work, I also taught college-level English for 5 years, and education and librarianship have a few things in common too. I hope, though, that in the spirit of discussing what I have perceived to be true, a new student may be able to latch on to one or more items that are helpful in their endeavors.

Web and email savvy

I feel sympathetic in a way when I hear an incoming student say that they're going into librarianship because they love books because I never really touch a book at work, and I think this is fairly typical of all library jobs except those working with children and young people. With a library science degree, most of us will be in demand as managers of library systems and libraries themselves, and in the academic library especially, we'll see a move toward libraries managing digital information (and not books) and delivering it electronically to faculty members and students. The people doing research in the academic (and even in the public) library want information quickly and conveniently and they would love to have it delivered to them in their office or home--where they're doing work. Libraries are making this possible through virtual reference services, document delivery, online database access, and portals to resources.

Part of this trend—which isn't exclusive of public and school libraries as their users are computer-driven as well—means that as librarians we have to be the most comfortable, the most savvy, the most knowledgeable of anyone at using computers. If you're fairly new to the web, the best thing you can do is play around on it and spend a lot of time just seeing what's available. Especially check out librarianship sites, things like the ALA website and its divisions, the online version of Library Journal, and the news or opinion based sites like LISnews.com or librarian.net.

Most librarians are also on several listservs too—and keep up to date about the issues and the hot topics in our field. Knowing what's going on will help you in job interviews, in classes, and in conversations; there's always a lot of controversial and interesting discussions going on.

Because of all this listserv activity, it's good if students can learn to manage a huge amount of email right away. Learning how to keep folders, delete or discard unimportant messages, overlook repeat postings (you'll get tons of repeat messages if you're on different library listservs) and respond quickly and briefly to important messages will save you time and energy. I get all my listservs in digest form so that I only get one message every day from each listserv. (I'm on one for an ALA round table—the Social Responsibilities Round Table—one for a librarians' organization I'm a a part of called the Progressive Librarians Guild, the IRLSADMIN listserv, the UA-LSO listserv that is so full of essential information, a UA news listserv, a UA leaders listserv, an ACRL listserv, and a several other news, political, and work related groups.) This helps cut down on the number of messages I get and the time I use reading them, if not the amount of content. I don't read every listserv digest every day, but I always read the IRLSADMIN and the UA-LSO listservs because they always contain information that's important to my life and studies.


The American Library Association (ALA) has two conferences every year: an annual conference with a lot of speakers and workshops for continued learning and professional development and a midwinter conference that is primarily focused on committee meetings and getting work done. The ALA annual conference is the largest conference in the world focused on library-related materials—and one of the largest conferences in the world just in general. Typical attendance is 25,000 and includes approximately 2,500 separately scheduled events. It's a huge, enormous conference coupled with a trade show that brings around 1,400 booths of vendors ranging from publishers to large database companies to library furniture suppliers to jewelry makers.

Junior librarians and first-time conference goers often spend a lot of time at the trade show part of the conference, picking up free galleys of books and freebie promotional items from the vendors there. It may or may not appeal to you to go around to 1,400 booths and pick up cheap items with logos on them made in China's sweatshops (you can guess my opinion of that). But all in all, it's much more rewarding to attend some workshops and discussion sessions and to try to get involved in one or more ALA committees in an area that appeals to you. For people new to the organization, there is a New Members Round Table that can help you meet other new members and help place you on a committee where you can meet future friends, employers, colleagues, or research partners. You may also identify a group immediately that matches your academic or career interests and call or email the coordinator to see how you can get involved. Committee work often takes only a small amount of your time but helps you be in contact with a network of people who you will know your entire career. This is how people get jobs: not just through the ability to put something on your c.v., but through the people you meet who can help identify positions and libraries where you would make a good match.

University of Arizona and Library School Education

UA has lots of resources for students--tons of organizations and tools (look at all the pages on the UA website including software tutorials!)--besides having some of the best teachers in the world. My father gave me the advice to always take the best teachers and not focus on the best course description or title; so even if it's a subject you're not sure you will like, but you know the teacher is top-notch, then take the class anyway. Don't take classes that you think sound good despite the fact that you don't believe the teacher is particularly organized or charismatic.

Whether they like it or not (!), you can see how the instructors—including some adjuncts—have been rated by their students at https://aer.arizona.edu/ASUA/ and you can look on many professors' websites to see whether they've won any awards at teaching (the university gives awards for teaching). Also, ask classmates and people you know about each teacher and try to see whether the instructor maintains a fair classroom, a rigorous classroom, an engaging classroom—whether they lecture or whether they focus on assignments and coursework that integrate different types of learning and different types of assignment. I don't think we should be looking for the easy professors, but for the ones who are connected to the field through research and education and the ones who can help us make connections, too.

I believe students can be more demanding about the quality of education we are receiving. Last semester, I took a course with Kathy Short, a professor in the LRC department. I found her by doing a search on the UA website for award winning educators (she has won the 2003 Extraordinary Faculty Award from the University of Arizona Alumni Association and the International Reading Association named her the 2000 Arbuthnot Award Winner for Outstanding Educator in Children's and Adolescent Literature among other awards). I took a class on the Art of the Picture Book with her—a subject I wasn't sure whether I would need or not—but I was enlightened by the coursework and amazed at the careful and deliberate way she taught, the incredible resources she brought to us, and the thoughtful way that she truly educated. SIRLS students who take all of the core requirements of the program can take courses out of the department as long as they don't take more than half of the required 36 hours outside the department. I think we can all use these hours to find the best teachers and the best education that will make us stronger and more rigorous thinkers and researchers as well as more culturally and politically aware.

This makes me consider what I think it's important for beginning librarians to know. Library school education in some ways hasn't decided to move out of the model that was set up in the first library schools in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The idea was to offer a vocational training program to librarians in subjects that they could use on the job (interested in studying library handwriting, anyone?). Some students would still like these skills and a few employers would no doubt like someone who already knows the practical ins and outs of cataloging, binding, etc. The jobs that require that previous knowledge are probably not for us: junior librarians. To be the best decision-makers, perhaps we would do better to use our graduate studies to focus on the issues of librarianship, understand policy-making and management, understand ways of thinking and strategies that different cultures use to approach problems in our workplace, understand theories of information and its organization, understand the politics of librarianship and its relationship to democracy and intellectual freedom. Don't doubt yourself if you're taking classes that are improving your way of thinking and your broadness of vision instead of getting a hard-nosed look at the how-tos of working in a library. You can get that in your first job or in internships.


Once a friend of mine asked, "Why do we have to focus on diversity so much?" I don't think it was racism so much as a misunderstanding of how essential a diversity of cultural backgrounds and different ways of thinking is to our work. Diversity is a part of everything that a librarian does, from who works in the library to how much they get paid, to who walks in the door of the library, to what they find on the shelves there, to how the information is organized, to how the materials are catalogued, to what happens in a storytime or a presentation or a information literacy course. SIRLS is lucky to be a part of the premiere diversity program for library schools in the country, the Knowledge River program. Knowledge River recruits students to the SIRLS program who are thoroughly knowledgeable of and sensitive to the language and culture of at least one Hispanic or Native American group. The program helps to retain these SIRLS students by helping them identify financial aid and by offering opportunities to learn more about our field. The program also offers courses in SIRLS each semester that are open to everyone, geared to the information environment as experienced by Native Americans and Hispanics. I believe that the Knowledge River program is one of the strongest aspects of SIRLS—something that sets us apart from all other library schools in the country. Even if you're not a Knowledge River student, look at how some of the KR courses could fit into your curriculum and be knowledgeable about the great students that attend our school because of being recruited by KR.


I've saved my favorite topic for last, but I think to be "in the know" as a SIRLS student, it's good to be involved in the Library Student Organization (LSO). Because we're a small school headed by a small faculty and staff, I feel that some of the services have to be provided by students working for themselves to create opportunities. Through LSO, everyone can work together to do things that wouldn't otherwise be possible. In the past, LSO has sponsored networking opportunities, workshops and speaker series, social opportunities to meet other students who will be your colleagues in the field, and to publish information on their website http://sir.arizona.edu/lso that can help everyone. The new webzine in which this article will be published, BiblioTech, gives us an opportunity to publish our work and spread it around the world. The officers who work with LSO are dedicated to providing great opportunities for feedback and programs that benefit all students, but I don't consider their mission "to serve" the library students; these are students, too and they don't work for the students. Instead, they are conduits to the resources, information and assistance that students need to put their own ideas and projects into motion.


As I finish writing this, I wonder if I've been too bold in making suggestions, but I definitely tried to stick on the course of suggestions that all of us can follow, regardless of what path we're heading toward in the field. I feel strongly about a number of issues in librarianship, but I wanted to use this space to talk about things that we all need to know and to think about, and to give some background info to folks who may just be starting our program now. I love our field and I think it's an exciting and important time to be starting out in it.

Georgie Donovan has a bachelors of English degree from the University of Georgia and a master of fine arts degree in creative writing with a focus on poetry from the University of Texas at El Paso. Spring 2004 is her last semester in the SIRLS program. She is a former president of the Library Student Organization and a member of ALA, the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table, ACRL, and the Progressive Librarians Guild. Last September, she started work at the University of Arizona Libraries as the special assistant to the dean. She writes, enjoys painting, cooking, and playing the piano, and is a fairly decent ballroom dancer.

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Promiscuous Presidents and Dispensable Penises: A Day in the Life of a Reference Librarian Intern

By Laurie Ito Hardenbergh

[This journal entry is based on the author's experiences as a reference librarian intern at a community college.]

8:59am - I arrive at the library. Although I've been working here for two months, every time I pull into a parking space within a two-minute walk from the library, I can't help but get a little giddy. Parking near my place of employment? For free?! Forget large research libraries - this is the way to go!

9:10am - I observe a bibliographic instruction class for "developmental" students. I soon learn that "developmental" is simply a politically correct term for "really shouldn't be in college yet."

I did not wake up this morning thinking I'd be explaining the ritual removal of sexual organs to a student trying to prove the inherent evilness of Africans.

10:07am - I assist the instructional librarian with guiding the students through a library exercise. I am slightly alarmed upon hearing the librarian remind the students, "Don't forget to put spaces between words."

A student in the front row raises her hand and asks for help with question #3 that asks her to find the author of the book titled (ironically) How to Succeed in College. Her strategy thus far has been to run an author search for "Smith." I ask her why she has chosen to search by author and she simply responds, "I thought someone named Smith might have written it." I force myself to conjure up my most pleasant smile from my waitressing days and tell her that I have a "new way" that will go a lot faster . . .

Another student raises her hand. Much to my astonishment, I find myself having to tell her, "Don't forget to put spaces between words."

Another student tells me she's having trouble finding information on her topic: "Sally Deming," Jefferson's slave and mother of his children. I tell her that she's having problems because the name is actually Sally Hemings. Then I help her use the catalog and am amused to find there is a whole subject heading devoted to "Jefferson Thomas 1743-1826 - Relations with women." In an attempt to interject some humor into this otherwise tiresome class, I say to her, "Wow, Thomas Jefferson slept around so much that the Library of Congress created a whole subject heading for it!" Nothing. Not even a smile. Maybe I've been hanging out with librarians too much. [Mental note: Find out if other presidents have this subdivision on their subject headings.]

Another hand is raised. This guy tells me his father left him when he was really young and he wants to learn about the psychological impact of not having a father. We find some books in the catalog and he wants help finding them on the shelf. On our way to the shelves, he says, "Why don't you just number the books 1, 2, 3, and so on?" I blink. Must . . . suppress . . . urge to . . . be sarcastic . . . Breathe. I smile pleasantly and calmly explain to him that this way he can see all of our books on the same subject grouped together. Moreover, he can go to any academic library and find the same kinds of books in the HQ777s. "Huh!," he exclaims, "That's a pretty good idea!"

11:09am - It turns out that there is a subject heading for "Clinton Bill 1946 - Relations with women." There is also one for "Clinton Bill 1946 - Sexual Behavior" for which we have seven holdings. Hmm.

12:37pm - Reference desk. A student wants a journal article on "trying kids as adults." This is his first foray into the world of article indexes and I'm trying to convince him that he can do it and that it's not scary. I find that the oh-so-intuitive descriptor for his topic is "Juvenile Courts - Waiver of jurisdiction - analysis" and realize that article indexes are scary.

1:03pm - "Hi, I need some help - it's kind of a touchy subject," says the blonde student approaching the reference desk. "I need non-Internet information on the problem of [cough] the African Americans." For a moment, all mental effort goes into making my face appear as neutral as possible. I am now having a flashback to this week's reference class in which we were told that the first question asked in a reference interview rarely has anything to do with what the user actually wants. I try to find some consolation in this possibility. Upon pressing for "more specifics," she informs me that she is writing an argumentative paper in response to an essay they read in class by a guy who says white people and everyone not in Africa is evil and ruining the world. In retaliation, she will be writing a paper about how the continent of Africa is just as bad, or worse.

She has some creative ideas. She wants information on slavery in Africa to show that they had slavery as well. Fine, I find her some books on slavery in Africa. "Didn't slavery, like, start in Africa?" she says. I tell her I'm not sure, but that slavery has existed in many cultures including Ancient Greece. I also try to explain how, as bad as it was, slavery often filled a societal need because the slaves had lost their social support networks and needed food and shelter. She is very interested in what race the slaves were in Ancient Greece, and I cannot get it through to her that it wasn't until white American colonists starting stealing black Africans that race became inextricably linked to slavery.

She also wants statistics on AIDS in Africa because "Like, they don't use contraception and spread AIDS everywhere - didn't AIDS, like, start in Africa?" I find her a journal article covering AIDS statistics in Africa, but she is not happy to see that the most common means of transmission in Africa is from breastfeeding mother to infant. I also find her some books on the history of AIDS. Her next idea is "refugee camps." I ask what in particular about them she is using to support her argument. Is it their existence? Treatment in the camps? Lots of countries outside of Africa have refugee camps, I tell her. Pause. "What are refugee camps?"

It is becoming apparent from her use of words she does not know that she has done some research on her own, so I ask her about her research strategy thus far. She produces a handful of articles from a website about various murders and other "bad" things that have occurred in Africa. I remind her that just that morning there was a triple murder-suicide in Tucson's east side and that anecdotal evidence is weak, and her paper would be stronger if she identified more systemic problems unique to Africa. Of course I am also thinking that she needs to frame these problems within the context of colonialism and the global political economy, but it's not really my place . . . or is it? We didn't cover this in IRLS 524!

She produces a list of call numbers of books she has found on her topic. She requests assistance in locating the books on the shelf. The first one is a BJ, which is a little odd but I lead her to the shelf anyway. Sitting right next to Amy Vanderbilt's latest is the item with the call number she has written down, Basic Black. It is an etiquette book. What kind of absurd search query led to a title like this? I can only imagine that she typed "basic book on blacks" in the keyword field.

We then get to the GNs where she has written down a call number for a book on female circumcision. Now, while I feel her paper topic is hopelessly misguided and, frankly, offensive, I can see how the African custom of genital mutilation might suit her. Oddly, we hold over 10 titles on this topic because it is a frighteningly popular research theme. I tell her it is a controversial issue and many people are opposed to this practice so this is a better fit with her paper than the etiquette book. "What is 'female circumcision'?" she asks. One of the student workers is shelving books a few feet down and looks at me with a sympathetic smile. Well, a smirk, really. I did not wake up this morning thinking I'd be explaining the ritual removal of sexual organs to a student trying to prove the inherent evilness of Africans.

I send her on her way with a gigantic stack of books, and an uneasy feeling in my stomach.

1:46pm - The phone rings, and I'm told it's a reference question for me. I pick up the phone. A male voice says, "Hi, I have an Internet question for you. I was wondering which physicians in Tucson offer sex change operations." I'm immediately glad that this is on the phone and not in person. I conduct a brief reference interview, somehow thinking that if I speak in vague terms and pretend that it might not be him seeking the operation, it's somehow more professional. I know that this will not be a quick search, so I ask if he wants me to call him back or if he wants to hold. He opts for the hold.

Perhaps it was because he said it was an "Internet question," or perhaps because it's just a habit no amount of library science training can shake, I dive right into Google. While I find plenty of bizarre stuff including some graphic photos I really didn't want to see, I realize this approach is fruitless. I consult with a librarian and we flip through a reference resource I didn't even know existed - Completely Queer: A Gay and Lesbian Encyclopedia. Unfortunately, nothing relevant turns up. In the meantime, a student worker comes to tell me that the patron wants me to call him back, but requests that I not say where I'm from or what I'm calling about because he's at work. Fair enough.

Post-call debriefing with the librarians. One of them declares that I have won the "Weird Reference Question of the Week" award.

2:16pm - Desperately not wanting to call him back to say I couldn't find anything, I decide to call Wingspan, a community center for lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender folk in Southern Arizona. Jackpot. I find out about the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance (SAGA) and the nice Wingspan guy gives me a whole bunch of other helpful information. I check out the SAGA website and am thrilled to see a list of medical resources in Tucson and what kinds of things they do. I must resist spending too much time poring over a list that offers such services as "facial feminization" and "sex empowerment."

2:20pm - I call back the patron who I now see has given me his full name, despite his wish for discretion. I dial the number, trying to be as discreet and vague as a Planned Parenthood employee calling a teenage girl about her birth control prescription. He whispers hello, and I hear him close his office door. I tell him of my finds, and start telling him about a great male-to-female transgender support group called Desert Girlz which meets on the second Tuesday of every month down on 4th Avenue - and he interrupts me to say, "I don't want to do all that community stuff. I just want to amputate it."

Now I am definitely a woman, but I find myself crossing my legs protectively and involuntarily wincing. Again, I am exceedingly grateful that this is a phoned-in reference question. I recover quickly and try to convince him that "community" is not a four-letter word and that support from others in the same situation can be invaluable, but he'll have none of it. I also now realize that the pretense that he's calling "for a friend" has been supremely shattered. My patron adds, "I don't want to really do the transgender thing." I'm thinking So he just wants to get rid of his penis but not be a woman? I decide that I have fulfilled and possibly exceeded my role as a reference librarian and the call is ended.

2:27pm - Post-call debriefing with the librarians. One of them declares that I have won the "Weird Reference Question of the Week" award.

2:33pm - I pack up and go home, basking in the knowledge that I have made a difference.

Top Five Lessons Learned Today:

  1. I cannot assume that all college students are familiar with a computer keyboard.
  2. It is difficult to balance personal and political convictions with meeting a user's information request.
  3. Transgender and transsexual do not always go hand in hand.
  4. Thomas Jefferson slept around a lot.
  5. It takes humans to find information, not computers. There are questions that neither Google nor a good reference collection can tackle.

Bottom line: In our increasingly technology-centered profession, sometimes it takes a guy with a penis he doesn't want to make you value humanity.

Lori Ito Hardenbergh is a SIRLS student who in all likelihood will be graduating this spring. She dreams of being a reference/instruction librarian at an academic library in D.C. Her hubby and two greyhounds will accompany her on this journey. Lori is also, in case you haven't noticed, the editor of this webzine.

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Exploring Music Trading

by Matt Cole


The recording of live music goes back over a century to the beginnings of audio recording technology itself. The organized recording and trading of a band's live shows by devoted fans, however, is generally traced back to the late '60s or early '70s. The first band which allowed and encouraged such activity was, of course, the Grateful Dead. Although the Dead never had a true radio hit, they were able to become the most consistently successful touring act of all time in no small part by allowing their fans to record and then trade (but never sell) copies of each of their live shows.

Both the library and music trading communities may find themselves under profit-minded assault in the present and near future.

By the time the Grateful Dead called it a career in 1995 with the death of guitarist and guru Jerry Garcia, a number of other bands had taken notice and were emulating the practice of allowing audience taping and trading. Prominent among these bands were first-wave "HORDE" (named for a successful festival tour) or "jambands" such as Phish and Blues Traveler. Despite the lack of MTV or radio support, Phish managed to gross over $20 million per year from their tours in the late '90s. The band consistently sold out venues for multi-day runs, while MTV-friendly bands were playing in front of half-full houses. While there is no real estimate of the number of touring bands today which allow audience taping and trading, a rough guess would place the low end at well over a hundred (given that 80-taper friendly bands were at the High Sierra Music Festival last summer, and at least an equal number were not). Many of these bands now allow, encourage or initiate the posting of their shows to various online sites such as www.archive.org (a must-see site for all library types, not just for the excellent live shows contained therein), usually in SHN or FLAC formats, where they are available for free download to anyone with a high-speed connection.

Given the harsh attitude of the major recording labels (as expressed through the Recording Industry Association of America's various peer-to-peer lawsuits) toward "unauthorized" distribution of copyrighted recordings on the ground that it damages the fortunes of their artists [author's note: one should be properly skeptical of any record company claims of interest in their artists' well being], why, then would bands allow the essentially free distribution of live shows? A 1999 article by Kurt Andrew Kemp for DAT-Heads Digest (www.solorb.com ) provides some possible reasons:

First, it tends to increase a band's fanbase, mostly because the majority of fans feel more allegiance or dedication to a band that freely gives something back to them without asking for anything in return (other than following certain guidelines or rules).

Second, tape trading is one of the most effective modes of word-of-mouth advertising that exist and tends to increase the enthusiasm factor among fans and creates a sense of community among those who tape and trade tapes. Many tape traders have become interested in seeing a certain band in concert after enjoying a live recording of theirs from a tape trade. In turn, this renewed interest often causes tape traders to purchase the official CDs of a newly discovered band. [If pressed, this author will be happy to provide a list of at least a dozen such bands which he has been introduced to through live audience recordings.]

Third, when a band allows taping, it will usually increase its take at the gate, in part because of the widening of its fanbase and in part because it will attract the interest of more tapers in the area, many of whom will choose to attend the concert of a newly discovered band if they know they'll be allowed to tape them.

In short, audience taping and trading would seem to benefit the band through increased fan support and loyalty.

The Study

Most evidence for this, however, is anecdotal. When, in a class on Information Seeking Behaviors (IRLS 587), we were assigned to do a pilot study, I saw an opportunity to explore this phenomenon on a more "scientific" footing (always aware that a pilot study is just that and that conclusions can't be extrapolated from one such study). The project consisted of designing a questionnaire which would determine some information-seeking behaviors of the responding music traders and profile some related behaviors. To obtain a sample group (biased, of course, but unavoidable given the time and other constraints), I posted a notice on the discussion board of a taper-friendly band, Sound Tribe Sector 9 (www.sts9.com) offering up a Sound Tribe Blanks & Postage (B&P, a common practice in online music trading, in which a trader with a larger collection offers copies of a certain show to a certain number of people who will send blank CDRs or other media and return postage; the person offering the show gets nothing in return, just the satisfaction of spreading good music further). I offered the B&P of a very good STS9 show to the first 10 people who responded; I also noted that when I returned their discs, I would include a questionnaire on their music trading and show-attending habits along with a Self- Addressed Stamped Envelope by which to return the survey. As incentive, if they returned the survey by a certain date, I would send them, at my expense, an additional show.

Ten people responded within 24 hours (as well as another person who didn't want to send me discs but offered to take the survey by email; I took him up on this). Of these 10, only three ever sent their blank discs to me and all three returned their surveys on time. I also gave a survey to a taper friend of mine, and, including the emailed survey, wound up with five responses out of a total of 12 for a response rate of just under 42%. In a normal study, this would probably be cause for skepticism, if not outright alarm. However, since this was a pilot study, I did not worry too much as I was not under the illusion that its results would be generalizable, just that they might point out whether further research is warranted.

While the results should be taken with a grain of salt, the conclusions were interesting, if not unexpected. Three of five respondents had heard of at least ten bands through authorized live recordings. Four of five stated they were more likely to see a band that allowed taping (the other being "equally likely") and all five stated they were more likely to support (through purchase of band CDs, T-shirts, stickers, and other merchandise) a band that allowed taping. Further, in general, they thought it was never OK to pirate (i.e. sell for profit) live recordings of a band that allowed audience recording but more likely (with widely varying attitudes) to think it is OK to do so for bands that don't allow such recording. This jibes with another point in Kemp's article, in which he states that if a band allows trading of live recordings, the most devoted fans, i.e. prime marketing targets of for-profit bootleggers, will already have high quality recordings of desired shows. This is especially true now with the increasingly large collection of recordings available on www.archive.org and www.etree.org . In sum, while the pilot study contained some obvious and inevitable flaws, it certainly indicated that further study of this phenomenon is worthwhile, and may in fact show that allowing the audience to record their shows is in fact beneficial to bands in the long run, both from a financial and fan-loyalty perspective.

Some ideas for future research include:

Within the scope of Information Seeking behaviors:

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Intellectual Freedom

by Rebecca Hindman

The History of Intellectual Freedom and Censorship

Threats to intellectual freedom have existed since the printed word. History has seen bitter censorship battles over what should and should not be published, sold, and read. The fight for intellectual freedom has been long and complex, and many agencies have been involved in the process. For example, in 1954, libraries had difficulty importing materials from behind the Iron Curtain. The post office had taken on the role of the censor and had labeled certain papers "unmailable" and refused to deliver them (Newsletter, January, 1954, 7). The Civil Rights era was also a difficult time for our country, and libraries were not exempt from its pressures. On August 11, 1962, a federal court ordered the public library in Montgomery, Alabama to desegregate its reading and browsing areas. The very next day in Albany, Georgia, "several Negro youths went into the public library, [and] the building was immediately closed 'indefinitely in the interest of public safety'" (Newsletter, October, 1962, 1). Even as late as 1962, intellectual freedom was still a dream. There was not equal access to information. The reaction of this library actually impeded the access to all users in an attempt to discriminate against the few.

We believe rather that what people read is deeply important - that ideas can be dangerous - but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society.

Today the ALA takes the stand of anti-censorship, but as illustrated, that was not always the case in the United States. In the 19th and much of the 20th centuries, librarians felt it their duty to restrict access to library materials to children and adults. Librarians were admonished "to obtain only the most wholesome materials. As Dewey (1876) noted, 'only the best books on the best subjects' were to be collected, and there was considerable debate as to whether patrons should be exposed to such works as romances" (Rubin 152-53). Librarians were expected to endorse and indeed censor the materials they provided for their patrons. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn provides a good example of a librarian's thinking at the turn of the century.

"The novel excited controversy from the outset, when the Concord (Massachusetts) Public Library banned the book in 1855, charging that the [book] was 'trash suitable only for the slums.' Denver (Colorado) Public Library banned the novel in 1902, and Brooklyn Public Library removed it from the children's room on the charge that 'Huck not only itched but he scratched, and he said sweat when he should have said perspiration."' (Karolides, Bald, and Sova, 336)

Richard Rubin further explains that "the women who were hired as librarians at the end of the nineteenth century were expected to represent the values of polite middle-class society and to steer individuals from good to better books" (153).

By 1948 the view of the librarian was far removed from that of the early 20th century librarian. The librarian's role began to shift from being a gatekeeper to a provider of information. The librarian today has a professional responsibility to be as fair, just, and equitable as possible to try to give all library users equal protection in guarding against violation of library patrons' rights to read, view or listen to materials and resources protected by the First Amendment. Libraries similarly have an obligation to prevent library collectors from removal of material based on personal bias or prejudice and to select and support free access to the material available (Hull 14).

Current Issues in Intellectual Freedom

One issue currently facing librarians deals with conflicts of interest. Librarians often experience "conflicting moral, ethical, personal, social, and legal obligations" (Rubin 147), all of which contribute to the actions a librarian takes in a given situation. When an adolescent wants to check out material on suicide, should the librarian intervene? When a child asks for a book that contains explicit photographs, should the librarian refuse to help the child locate the material? When a foreigner is searching for material on how to build a bomb, should the librarian alert the police? According to Rubin, "It is not being suggested here that librarians should act as censors, but it is to say that considering the effects of information on the patron lies well within the domain of ethical deliberations, and that intellectual freedom issues, although clearly intimately related, do not exhaust the important considerations when making ethical decisions" (274). There are a variety of issues that each librarian must work out issue by issue, situation by situation, always maintaining the integrity of the discipline.

Privacy is another issue of great concern to librarians. In the wake of September 11, issues of library patron privacy have come to the forefront. There is a great concern within the library profession that as patrons lose privacy in regards to their library activities, they will be less likely to seek out information, especially if the subject is controversial in nature. The USA PATRIOT Act was passed shortly after the terrorist attacks with little revision or debate. As a result, "across the nation, FBI investigators are quietly visiting libraries and checking the reading records of people they suspect of being in league with terrorists" (Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, September 2002, 185). Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act is of particular concern to libraries in that it "gave the FBI authority to obtain library and bookstore records and a wide range of other documents" on any patron (Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, September 2002, 185). Despite the act and the threat it poses to intellectual freedom and the right to access whatever information you seek, "The American Library Association affirms that rights of privacy are necessary for intellectual freedom and are fundamental to the ethics and practice of librarianship" (Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, September 2002, 191). The ALA also "opposes any use of governmental power to suppress the free and open exchange of knowledge and information or to intimidate individuals exercising free inquiry...ALA considers that sections of the USA PATRIOT Act are a present danger to the constitutional rights and privacy rights of library users" (ala.org--from ALA's Resolution on the USA Patriot Act). Due to many of the concerns of the library field, many aspects of the USA Patriot Act are being reviewed and will possibly be appealed and amended in the near future.

In October 1998, Congress enacted the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) with the intent of researching ways to protect children online, including filters, labels, rating systems, and age verification. The Commission on Child Online Protection Act reported that no single method will protect children on the Internet. There are quite a few concerns regarding filtering Internet access. First of all, many public computers and libraries are open to both children and adults. Filtering material deemed inappropriate to minors would violate an adult's right to view the information. Further, filters may inadvertently block sites that are desirable and not block all sites that are inappropriate. In fact, computer software companies are hesitant to provide the filtering software to public libraries for fear of certain sites coming up despite the filter and the legal responsibility inherent in the flawed software. A national study by the Digital Media Forum has shown overwhelming support for filters in public schools (Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, January 2001, 5). Though this clearly violates the basis of intellectual freedom, Dhavan Shah, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications at the University of Wisconsin at Madison claims that "it's not perceived as censorship, but rather a protection, or barrier" (Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, January 2001,5). Once again librarians come face to face with the need and desire to uphold intellectual freedom while holding fast to ethics and meeting the needs of society.

Future Trends

All disciplines change over time and library science is no exception. The laws and issues relating to intellectual freedom will have an impact on the future practice of librarianship. As a result of the USA PATRIOT Act, many libraries have done away with record keeping altogether, in a desperate effort to protect the privacy of their patrons. The University of Arizona Library, for example, does not keep circulation records. If a student wishes to obtain a history of books he or she already returned, it is impossible. The library simply does not keep such information.

The University of Arizona library never gave out or retained patron information to begin with. According to Marianne Bracke, assistant librarian at the University of Arizona, virtual librarianship and chat reference have changed the face of libraries forever. User privacy is of the utmost importance at UA. Despite tight budgets, the library opted to buy a software package that allows them to control the transcripts of the patrons and librarians, rather than use a free software package that does not allow such control. It is University Library policy to delete all transcripts (from chat or emails) after 7 days. When initial transcripts are stored, the software automatically strips the correspondence of an email address, always ensuring confidentiality and privacy.

Additional actions to protect privacy are being implemented nationwide. Many libraries are no longer using sign-in sheets for computer labs. There is also concern about remote access to a library's website. When on campus, patrons can access the sites without entering any identifying information. When off campus, however, students, faculty, and staff must enter some sort of ID number in order to access certain materials. Though records are not consciously kept, there is concern that somewhere in the computer lies a record of who has visited the library site and when. This concern may lead to some sort of change in remote access in the future.

Scholarly communication poses yet another challenge to intellectual freedom and providing access to materials. Journal subscriptions go up 10-15% per year. Because the university library serves faculty members who are working for tenure, these faculty members must publish in certain journals. The UA library is forced to pay these increased fees year after year. As a result, in conjunction with Arizona Research Libraries (ARL) and Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), the University of Arizona is striving to create alternate but parallel journals. The first journal attempted is the Journal of Insect Science. Publishing a journal with the same integrity as other journals allows professors to contribute to their fields while maintaining costs within the library. This also prevents buying back journals from publishers. After a professor turns the rights to an article over to a publisher, the university has to buy back the journal its own faculty have contributed to. The UA Library wants to provide all journals; however, limited resources do not make this possible. The Scholarly Communications Team is also working with publishers and authors to create a Bill of Rights in order to make their relationship more beneficial.

Other future issues in intellectual freedom involve copyright and fair use. Due to e-reserves and the easy access to materials, copyright issues have recently come under scrutiny. The UA Library currently provides access to articles and audio files, and in the future, Bracke would not be surprised to see video files available as well. This ability to share and provide information to a large mass of information seekers calls into question the copyright law, which only allows 1/10 of work to be copied for academic purposes. The future of this issue remains unknown.


In closing, one can see that censorship and intellectual freedom are complex issues that will continue to dominate to the library field. Intellectual freedom is a world-wide problem and is very complex. It includes all forms of information, access to all users, and censorship. Librarians face many pressures when dealing with users and providers of information. There is pressure from parents, religious groups, administrators, and government agencies to restrict access to certain materials. Sometimes they win and sometimes they lose, but librarians "do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important - that ideas can be dangerous - but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours" (From the Freedom to Read Statement as quoted in Rubin 161). Librarians continue to fight for that freedom today.

Rebecca Hindman was born and raised in the now-infamous Modesto, California. She began the SIRLS program as a non-degree seeking student in Fall 2003 and was officially accepted into the program Spring 2004. She currently works in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Office of Academic Programs. Rebecca lives in Tucson with her husband David, who is also pursuing graduate studies at UA. They enjoy hiking in the desert, day trips, and reading.

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